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64   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

I write of many nice gallops, and of my horse lying down in the middle of streams; and, incidentally with less interest, of the Mount of Olives and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ! Antonio Sapienza proved to be an admirable dragoman, and always the practical part of the tenting cavalcade started early in the morning, and therefore as the rest of us rode over the hills in the later afternoon we would see arranged cosily in some beautiful valley the white tents, with the curling smoke from the kitchen-tent already rising with the promise of a delightful dinner.

Over Jordan we went, and what a very great disappointment Jordan was to our childish minds, which had always pictured a broad river and great waves parting for the Ark of the Covenant to pass. This Jordan was a little stream hardly more impressive than the brook at our old home at Madison, and we could not quite accustom ourselves to the disappointment. But Jerusalem with its narrow streets and gates, its old churches, the high Mount of Olives, and the little town of Bethlehem not far away, and, even more interesting from the standpoint of beauty, the vision of the Convent of Mar Saba on the high hill not far from Hebron, and beyond all else the blue sparkling waters of the Dead Sea, all remain in my memory as a wonderful panorama of romance and delight.

Arab sheiks visited us frequently in the evening and brought their followers to dance for us, and wherever my father went he accumulated friends of all kinds and colors, and we, his children, shared in the marvellous atmosphere he created. I remember, in connection with the Dead Sea, that "Teedie" and Mr. Jay decided that they could sink in it, although the guides had warned them that the salt was so buoyant that it was impossible for any living thing to sink in the waters (the Dead Sea was about the most alive sea that I personally have ever seen), and so the two adventurous ones undertook to dive, and tried to remain under water. "Teedie" fortunately relinquished the effort almost immediately, but Mr. Jay, who in a spirit of

Green Fields and Foreign Faring   65

bravado struggled to remain at the bottom, suffered the ill ef

fects from crusted salt in eyes and ears for many hours after

leaving the water.

For about three weeks we rode through the Holy Land, and

my memory of many flowers remains as one of the charms of

that trip. Later, led in the paths of botany by a beloved

friend, I often longed to go back to that land of flowers; but

then to my childish eyes they meant nothing but beauty and delight.

After returning to Jerusalem and Jaffa we took ship again and landed this time at Beyrout, and started on another camping-trip to Damascus, through perhaps the most beautiful scenery which we had yet enjoyed. During that trip also we had various adventures. I describe in my diary how my father, at one of our stopping-places, brought to our tents some beautiful young Arab girls, how they gave us oranges and nuts, and how cordially they begged us, when a great storm came up and our tents were blown away, to come for shelter to their quaint little houses.

Even to the minds of the children of eleven and fourteen years of age, the great Temple of Baalbek proved a lure of beauty, and the diary sagely remarks that "It is quite as beautiful as Karnak, although in an entirely different way, as Baalbek has delicate columns, and Karnak great, massive columns." The beauty, however, is not a matter of such interest as the mysterious little subterranean passages, and I tell how "Teedie" helped me to climb the walls and little tower, and to crawl through these same unexplored dark places.

The ride into Damascus itself remains still an expedition of glamour, for we reached the vicinity of the city by a high cliff, and the city burst upon us with great suddenness, its minarets stretching their delicate, arrow-like spires to the sky in so Oriental a fashion that even the practical hearts of the little American children responded with a thrill of excitement. Again, after an interesting stay in Damascus, we made our way back to Bey-


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